Faced with their first Head Coach search since 1999, the Ravens are currently in the process of evaluating the candidates and beginning the interview process.
Monday’s mass firing of everyone associated with the coaching staff leaves the club in an awkward position, mainly because there were several people – under the Brian Billick regime – that Ozzie, Brian, etc. wanted to promote from within and give new and/or added responsibilities. Now, if you’re one of the jettisoned coaches, do you hang around and wait for a call from the "410" or do you see the mess that was created on Monday and say, "let me ship out my resume and move on to another team?" I know of a couple of front office members who are privately worried about the unexpected circus events of Monday and are already wondering if maybe it might be time to look elsewhere. I’m sure the coaches can’t help but think the same thing after Monday’s shocking news.
Here are a handful of names that were part of the old coaching staff that were up for new roles and/or additional duties before Monday’s blood-bath.
> Mark Carrier would have likely been offered the Secondary Coach position, taking over for a likely-to-be-departing Dennis Thurman. Carrier is a no-holds barred kind of guy that was well liked in the locker room and was regarded highly by Ozzie and Brian as a "future star" in the organization.
> Mike Pettine has worked his way up the ladder with the Ravens and would have possibly been given the team’s Linebackers Coach role if Jeff FitzGerald would have moved on. Pettine worked with the team’s Outside Linebackers for the last couple of seasons and is regarded, like Carrier, as a "star in the making" because of his hard work and dedication to the defensive side of the ball.
> Greg Roman was doing very good work with the team’s core of young offensive lineman – particularly Grubbs, Brown and Gaither – and was in line for some kind of promotion…possibly the Offensive Line coach had Chris Foerster not returned.
> Rex Ryan, naturally, would have been the team’s Defensive Coordinator in 2008 unless he signed on to be a Head Coach during the off-season.
> And it’s now common knowledge that Brian Billick was set to meet with Miami’s Mike Mularkey this week to interview him for the team’s vacant Offensive Coordinator position. Because he was the Tight End’s coach with the Dolphins, Mularkey could have been hired away – and given a promotion in Baltimore as the O-Coordinator – in accordance with the rules of the NFL.
Now…with each passing day (without a Head Coach) comes the risk of the Ravens losing out on any or all of these coaches they wanted to keep for ’08.
And, to that end, what if the club hires Bill Cowher and he wants to bring in an entirely new staff? What if Cowher has a trainer he wants to bring along? Or a new strength and conditioning guy?
What if Rex gets the job…who does HE want as his defensive coordinator? What if he wants Jeff FitzGerald for that role but FitzGerald gets a call from the Jets this week and takes that gig instead?
Rex will probably get the cleanest, longest look by the Ravens because the players (the defensive ones, anyway) would roundly endorse him. Cowher has said time and time again he’s not interested in coming out of retirement and has already turned down an interview invitation from the Falcons. Bisciotti would have to open his wallet for Cowher, that’s a certainty. Rex would probably cost him $4.5 million for 3 years. Cowher would cost that much just to have him in for dinner, three days of interviews and a couple of rounds at Caves Valley.
Rex for around $5 million or Cowher for $30 million?
Quite a contrast, huh?
And, don’t forget, this is the week that teams around the league can interview coordinator-types like Jason Garrett (Dallas) or Jim Caldwell (Indy). Teams in the bye-week can allow their coaches to interview elsewhere this week and this week only. After that, you have to wait until their team is eliminated or the week "off" between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl.
So, if you’re the Ravens, and you want to interview Garrett or Caldwell, you need to do it this week, right?
What if you bring Garrett and Caldwell in this week and while you’re doing that, Rex signs on in Atlanta? Who’s to say that Herm Edwards doesn’t get fired today and Rex gets a call from "816"?
Is the theme for the day "hurry up" or "hurry up and wait"?
No matter what route the Ravens choose, they’re going to lose good people. That’s what happens in times of transition, though.
Prior to Monday’s charade, I would have assumed almost without question that the Ravens would simply "pick the right people" and move on from there.
Now, I think I’ll just wait around and see who they go after, who they hire, who they lose and allow time to tell if they’re doing the right thing or not.
As I said this morning on the air, I believe Bill Cowher is the BEST man for the job, but I also think Rex Ryan would be a good hire if it comes to that. The players would approve of Ryan so the in-house sell job wouldn’t be that difficult. And, while Cowher might not be the most popular selection with the older players since he’ll most certainly come in with an entirely new staff and new attitude, the younger guys will appreciate his enthusiasm and dedication to excellence.
Time is money, though. The Ravens are mindful of the coaching clock that is ticking and they’ll live or die with the decisions they’re going to make in the next couple of weeks.
I just hope the clock hasn’t struck midnight on their run of good luck.